Health and Wellbeing
The health and wellbeing of our staff and students remains our primary focus.
People and Culture have excellent resources designed for you to Keep Well, Keep Working and Keep Learning.
Ulster University has always had a strong sense of civic responsibility. As the only university distributed across the region, we have a tremendous opportunity to fully participate and deliver meaningful impact across the wider community. This has always been the case across our long and proud history, and is particularly true of the times that we now face.
Colleagues from across our campuses, across our faculties and departments, and from across our range of skills and expertise, are playing pivotal roles in the extraordinary response to this extraordinary crisis.
As we continue to go about our professional and personal lives, it is absolutely critical that we continue to follow all advice and guidance issued by local and national government and associated departments and agencies. For example and as you will all be aware, there are social distancing measures that are now in place that apply to everybody, with specific caution for those considered to be at heightened risk. All colleagues are advised to follow these measures, not least those colleagues who due to the nature of their work are still based on campus.
The current national government information in relation to social distancing can be found on gov.uk, but please be aware that this is subject to change at this time.
In addition we remind colleagues of the current national government advice for those who are self isolating at home.
What is social distancing?
Social distancing measures are steps that everybody can take to reduce social interaction between people, with the intention of reducing the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The six steps are:
- Avoid contact with someone who is displaying symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Avoid non-essential use of public transport when possible.
- Work from home, where possible.
- Avoid large and small gatherings in public spaces.
- Avoid gatherings with friends and family.
- Use telephone or online services to contact your GP or other essential services.
How to maintain social distancing
Even though a number of us are now working from home, some colleagues based on the nature of their role are still on campus. For all of us, whether we are working on campus, or undertaking daily exercise, we should follow the 2 metres / 6 feet ‘rule’ when coming into contact with other people.
The 2 metres / 6 feet ‘rule’ and the six steps are the ways in which we can all reduce social interaction, and help reduce the transmission of coronavirus (COVID-19). Everyone should be trying to follow these measures as much as is practicable in every part of their life.
Specific Dos and Don’ts
Whether your role requires you to be based on campus, or you are supporting colleagues and communities in other ways outside your home, we would encourage colleagues to follow the dos and don’ts as listed below.
- Sit/work within two metres of anyone else who you do not share your home with – you should by now be noticing that workspaces on campus and in other locations are being rearranged to accommodate this
- Hold face to face meetings – Use Skype or calls as much as is possible
- Congregate in public or frequently used areas
- Pop in to chat to a friend - Use Skype or a call for this
- Become isolated during what is a tough time – Keep in touch with colleagues and others in your community
- Shake hands as a greeting
- Have visitors into the workplace or your home
- Use public transport in commuting to and from work if at all possible
Take care when
- Speaking face to face to someone if it is unavoidable, maintain the 2-metre safe distance
- Having tea breaks or lunch if working on campus or in other community based activity. Maintain a safe distance and do not share food items
- Going to the printer or the bathroom on campus or in another community location. If these areas are crowded avoid them, use a different area, or return later
Additional guidance for campus-based colleagues
Colleagues who remain based on campus or have course to be on campus to pick up essential equipment or documentation must pay particular attention to the advice.
Those colleagues who are based on campus given the nature of their role should maintain regular dialogue from their Line Manager in relation to the government guidance and the most appropriate actions to take at a local level.
Additionally, colleagues can contact the employee wellbeing team (firstname.lastname@example.org) as may be required.
What response is the University taking to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak?
Ulster University is following the advice from the Public Health Agency and the Department of Health on the ongoing global novel coronavirus response.
The University’s COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Steering Group has plans in place that will be activated if and when we need to respond to a positive case here. I would like to reassure staff and students that we are doing all everything possible to ensure that we are adequately equipped to deal with this ever-evolving situation and we are following guidance on this from official sources.
The University is continuing to monitor the situation carefully, and if there is any change to the current advice, this information will be updated.
What is the University's position on business travel?
Any member of staff who, in the context of COVID-19 (Coronavirus), is uncomfortable or concerned about undertaking business travel, will not be expected to do so.
To support this decision, we are asking all staff to give careful consideration to any business travel that may be required.
If travel is necessary, it is essential that all travel is booked through Key Travel.
We will continue to refer to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office guidelines on travel for advice on this.
Read the latest advice from UMAL, which includes Q&As on specific circumstances.
I would like to cancel annual leave I had planned to take as my flights have been cancelled - is it possible to do this?
We recognise that many airlines are currently cancelling flights which may mean that you have to cancel your planned holiday. In these circumstances, you may cancel your annual leave. If your annual leave has been approved on CoreHR you can cancel it by emailing a request to both your line manager and People and Culture at email@example.com
If your holiday was scheduled to take place before the end of the leave year (31 March 2020) and you need to cancel, given the extraordinary circumstances you can carry forward the full number of days cancelled in addition to the carry-over specified in your contract.
I am a staff member and am concerned - who can I speak to?
We understand that this situation may be worrying.
If you’d like to speak to somebody, further advice, support and information is available from our Employee Wellbeing team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have a pre-existing health condition/ I care for someone with a pre-existing health condition - who can I speak to?
If you have a pre-existing health condition or you care for someone who has, you may be worried about coming into work at this time. If so, you can access confidential advice and support from our Occupational Health (OH) team.